John Rocha Spring/Summer 2014

Flowers and lace. It might seem a tired combination for Spring, and perhaps even for John Rocha, who has done florals aplenty in the past, but this season’s collection surpasses expectation: this is a new kind of ladylike for Rocha. The show is a balancing act between tough and feminine: sweetness and light, but not without a darker depth.

Rocha plays with cycles and the concept of growth in this collection, with developments in both colour and shape appearing like blossoms after winter. Looks were ground in neutrals, but the colour palette progressed throughout the collection: the pure, filmy whites at the start of the show were delicately painted with watercolour florals, then streaked with graphic lines of red, and finally engulfed by slick black and buttery gold. Equally, silhouettes went from modest to all-out vampy, but a hint of repressed sexiness was perceptible throughout the entire show: even his starting looks, with their modest necklines and demure bell skirts, were coupled with sheer bodices and sleeves.

The standout element of this collection, however, is without a doubt Rocha’s mastery of texture. The use of fabric as a medium for embellishment this season pulls this show apart from Rocha’s usual flowery fare, lending a structural element to the collection. Adornments range from understated – origami-intricate georgette flowers on floral backgrounds – to totally dramatic, with dresses bedecked in a graduation of bright-red blooms and a slippery black birdcage of a dress. Any conceivable grievances – too bland, too pretty, too twee – are banished when met with Rocha’s fabric trellises.

The John Rocha girl is a sexier incarnation of the usual this season: she is the naughty older sister who went skinny-dipping – note the wet, slicked-back manes under those acetate hats – at her debutante ball and slipped her dress back on in time for the champagne toasts. John Rocha’s S/S14 collection is graceful and feminine, but with a healthy dose of sophistication and mischief. Let’s raise our glasses to Rocha and his grown-up flower girls.

Photos: Courtesy of Bryan Morel PR